Tablets with low-resolution screens are already selling for $45 on Amazon, many of which have single- or dual-core processors from a Chinese chip company called Allwinner.
But the prices could fall under $35 when Allwinner ships its “fully formed” quad-core A33 chip for only $4, said analyst firm Linley Group in a newsletter this week.
The chip’s quad-core processors will deliver better performance than older chips, and be capable of supporting 1280 x 800 displays, the analyst group said. The chip is based on ARM’s Cortex-A7 design and has a Mali-400MP2 GPU, which is capable of rendering high-definition video.
The cheap tablets will likely come from no-name vendors in China, and won’t offer the bells and whistles of Samsung or Apple tablets, but they could increase price pressure on brand names like HP and Acer, which have entry-level tablets priced around $100.
They’ll be most suited to first-time buyers or users who aren’t picky about hardware or software but certainly not power users, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research. That’s because they’ll likely have limited memory, storage and fewer ports than more expensive devices.
“Users eventually will move up in performance,” McGregor said.
The tablets would almost be disposable items, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.
And they could be here soon.
Mass production of the chip has already begun and prototype tablets have already been built.
A lot would come from Shenzhen, China, where a bulk of the device development is taking place, said Brookwood.
“This Shenzhen ecosystem, it’s absolutely scary what they are doing,” he said. “They operate on very thin margins. The kind of margins that no U.S. vendor can think about running on.”
The no-name tablets usually don’t come with customer support, and some may not have the Google Play store.
YouTube appears to be readying a paid premium music service that would cost US$9.99 a month, called YouTube Music Key. Roughly a dozen purported screenshots of the service were recently published online on the blog Android Police, possibly showing how it would work. The images showed exclusive content such as remixes or cover songs, offline access to entire albums or concerts, and personalized playlists.
A YouTube spokesman declined to comment, but rumors of a paid music service from the Google-owned video site have been circulating for some time now. An earlier report in the Financial Times claimed YouTube was blocking or penalizing independent labels that were not signing up for the yet-to-launch paid service. Earlier this month, YouTube head Susan Wojcicki confirmed the company was working on some kind of subscription music service, in aRe/code interview.
So it looks likely that a premium version of YouTube just for music is on the way. The free version of YouTube works well for many right now, but a premium version might let Google monetize some new content and lead users to the company’s other digital media services.
The amount and diversity of content already available free on YouTube is massive, and the advertisements don’t interrupt the listening experience like those on Spotify or Pandora do. Plus, Google already offers Google Play All Access, a paid music service that syncs across devices and lets people listen offline, for $9.99 a month.
“Premium” might be the draw for a paid music service. The special content might include exclusive recordings of professional artists’ cover songs, or unreleased tracks similar to iTunes exclusives.
To do that, Google would probably have to strike new licensing deals with music labels. But if YouTube could convert just a tiny fraction of its billion-plus monthly users into paying customers, that might be a win for Google, argues Mark Mulligan, co-founder of the music and technology research firm Midia Consulting.
YouTube claims viewers watch more than 6 billion hours of video each month on its site — almost an hour for every person on Earth — and that 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. That catalogue is peerless, Mulligan said, but Google probably wants to do more with it in order to take on streaming services like Spotify, Rdio or Beats Music.
“YouTube has the ability to offer so much more than anyone else, with video the killer component,” he said.
Snapchat Inc, creator of a mobile app that allows users to send messages that disappear within seconds, may be looking to expand its service to videos, news articles and advertisements, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The California-based company is currently in talks with advertisers and media companies about a service called Snapchat Discovery, the Journal reported, citing sources.
Snapchat Discovery, rumored to debut in November, will show content and ads to Snapchat users, the Journal quoted the sources as saying.
At least a dozen media companies have shown interest in providing content for Snapchat Discovery, the Journal said.
Snapchat Discovery will allow users to read publications and watch video clips by holding down a finger on the screen, as they do with photos and other messages on the app, the report said.
Snapchat, popular among teenage users, was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.
Cox Communications Inc. is not interested in merging with wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc or rival cable providers, according to Cox President Pat Esser, dispelling rumors recently swirling about the private company.
“We’re not in any discussions to buy T-Mobile,” Esser told Reuters. “I don’t see a movement inside of our company that we feel like we have to pony up or match up with a wireless company.”
Asked whether Cox, the third-largest U.S. cable and broadband company, was considering a merger with one of its smaller cable rivals, such as Charter Communications Inc or perennial takeover target Cablevision Systems Corp, Esser said family-owned Cox was not looking to become a publicly traded company.
“I would never say we’ll never be public in the future. But right now where the family’s at, where [parent company] Cox Enterprises is at, they like being private,” Esser said. “We have a very, very healthy balance sheet, we have a lot of capacity and we can do most of that inside of our current balance sheet and still remain private.”
Continuing a year marked by a whirlwind of dealmaking among telecom companies, sources told Reuters earlier this month that Iliad, a French telecom firm, was in talks with U.S. satellite and cable operators Cox, Charter and Dish Networks Corp regarding a potential joint bid for U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile.
Esser said that instead, he saw the future of Cox Communications in wi-fi offerings and connectivity services, such as home security.
“Wireless use of broadband is growing but it’s not through traditional cellular services, it’s wi-fi. Wi-fi is exploding,” Esser said. “Wi-fi is the future … Connected homes are the future.”
The vulnerability means that on the surface, it looks like the popups and advertisements are coming from the websites users are visiting, when they are actually coming from the fake Evernote web extension.
Researchers at the company discovered the vulnerability in a “multi-plug .PUP” file, which installs the fake Evernote browser extension.
A PUP file is one that has the .pup file extension and is most commonly associated with the Puppy Linux operating system. PUP files run when an installer program is opened on the user’s computer and they are similar to the installer.exe files that are used with Windows applications.
“A quick look shows the PUP is digitally signed by ‘Open Source Developer, Sergei Ivanovich Drozdov’, although the certificate has since been revoked by the Issuer. This serves as another reminder that you can’t always trust a program just because it’s digitally signed,” said Malwarebytes malware intelligence analyst Joshua Cannell.
“Clicking ‘Visit website’ directs the user to the Chrome webstore page for the actual Evernote Web extension,” Cannell added. “Chrome believes the real extension is installed, as verified by the Launch App button. When clicking this button with the fake extension installed, nothing happens, whereas normally the user is met with an Evernote login screen.”
Cannell explained that this is because the extension uses a content script to run in the context of the webpages a user browses.
“The content script is guaranteed to be loaded into every web page using the extension manifest (manifest.json). When visiting webpages, you’ll get a series of annoying advertisements, all leading to potentially more unwanted programs and offers,” he added.
To remove the extension, Chrome users need to visit the extensions tab in the browser and click the picture of a garbage can.
Evernote hit the headlines for its security concerns last year when it emerged that its network had been compromised by hackers.
The online note-taking service issued a password reset for all users after the discovery. It said that it “discovered and blocked” suspicious activity on its network, but claimed that no user data was compromised during the intrusion.
“In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost,” Evernote said.
Sprint Corp unveiled a new pricing plan that gives customers 20 gigabytes of data and up to 10 lines for $100, doubling its data offerings, the latest in a series of cuts and promotions that is re-shaping the wireless industry.
Sprint’s chairman, business tycoon Masayoshi Son, is betting new prices will revive a carrier hampered by an expensive network overhaul and rising competition.
“The message is simple: We are back in the game. We are going to offer most competitive value for American consumers,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s newly appointed chief executive told Reuters in an interview.
The company will release new plans for individuals later this week.
The announcement marks the first move for the new CEO, who last week said cutting prices would be his top priority.
The move comes after Verizon slashed prices for its unlimited talk and text plan and T-Mobile expanded its family plan to 6 lines and could signal more price cuts ahead for the industry as a whole.
Sprint is going it alone after scuttling a months-long effort to pursue a merger with No. 4 U.S. cellular provider T-Mobile US Inc.
Last year, an aggressive campaign by T-Mobile to address subscriber frustrations and lower prices sparked a domino effect that caused the U.S. top four carriers to restructure pricing plans and cut rates to lure customers in a nearly saturated market.
But analysts worry the industry’s latest discount spree could increase pressure on already tight margins and rattle dividends.
While top carriers and Verizon have largely been able to mitigate the impact of T-Mobile’s discounts on their subscriber base, they would likely have to respond to price cuts at Sprint with steep discounts of their own to keep subscribers from migrating, analysts said.
“We will see a trickle down in pricing concessions across the industry. This is the start of a price war many anticipated would be coming,” said Angelo Zino, analyst at S&P Capital IQ.
New pricing plans that charge customers separately for the cost of their devices have somewhat offset price cuts this year, Zino said, but if the discounts continue, they could pose a long-term threat to the dividends.
The storage of user data in China represents a departure from the policies of some technology companies, notably Google Inc, which has long refused to build data centers in China due to censorship and privacy concerns.
Apple said the move was part of an effort to improve the speed and reliability of its iCloud service, which lets users store pictures, e-mail and other data. Positioning data centers as close to customers as possible means faster service.
The data will be kept on servers provided by China Telecom Corp Ltd, the country’s third-largest wireless carrier, Apple said in a statement.
“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously,” it said. “We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland china. All data stored with our providers is encrypted. China Telecom does not have access to the content.”
A source with knowledge of the situation said the encryption keys for Apple’s data on China Telecom servers would be stored offshore and not made available to China Telecom.
Apple has said it has devised encryption systems for services such as iMessage that even Apple itself cannot unlock. But some experts expressed scepticism that Apple would be able to withhold user data in the event of a government request.
“If they’re making out that the data is protected and secure that’s a little disingenuous because if they want to operate a business here, that’d have to comply with demands from the authorities,” said Jeremy Goldkorn, director of Danwei.com, a research firm focused on Chinese media, internet and consumers.
“On the other hand if they don’t store Chinese user data on a Chinese server they’re basically risking a crackdown from the authorities.”
Goldkorn added that data stored in the United States is subject to similar U.S. regulations where the government can use court orders to demand private data.
A spokesman for China Telecom declined to comment.
SMS Audio’s BioSport In-Ear Headphones, announced at an event will tell you. The headphones are good for people who work out as well as those who just want to check their heart rate, said Brian Nohe, president of SMS Audio, which was founded by rapper 50 Cent, who is the majority owner.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, wanted headphones with top-quality audio, fit, form and functionality, Nohe said. The rapper, along with New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who is the minority owner of SMS, were scheduled to appear at the event.
The headphones have sensors to measure the heart rate of users, drawing power from a smartphone through an audio jack. No batteries are required. SMS Audio is using technology from Intel in the headphones.
“Open the box, plug it into your smartphone device and it works,” Nohe said.
The earphones will ship worldwide in the fourth quarter this year. The price will be announced later.
The headphones will work with RunKeeper, a popular Android and iOS fitness application that assembles and tracks fitness data.
“The general marketplace is ripe for having more products in this area,” Nohe said. “We understood what was happening with wearable technology and what was going on with biometrics.”
The engineering challenge for Intel was how to draw power and transfer data through an audio jack. Intel also had to figure out the frequencies at which to handle data transfers. The goal was to deliver accurate heart-rate readings.
“It’s a seemingly easy thing to explain, but hard to implement,” said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group at Intel.
Intel didn’t want to use Bluetooth or other wireless technologies to transfer data, Bell said. Those technologies would require batteries and not fit well within the small size of headphones.
“The best technology is invisible. It’s as much form as it is function,” Bell said. “That’s the road we’re going down.”
Beyond tracking heart rate, headphones could also be enabled to capture more health information, the executives said. Other opportunities are being explored by SMS Audio and Intel.
“You don’t start a strategic alliance and become a one-trick pony,” Nohe said.
The headphone space has gotten attention lately because of Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Audio, founded by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
U.S. Federal Communications Commission has said it would accept public comments on its proposed new “net neutrality” rules through Sept. 15, giving the American public extra time to voice their opinions and concerns on how they think Internet traffic should be regulated.
The FCC has received more than 1 million comments already on new rules for how Internet services providers should be allowed to manage web traffic on their networks.
The FCC had set a deadline of July 15 for the initial comments and then September 10 for replies to those initial comments. However, the surge in submissions overwhelmed the FCC’s website and the agency had delayed the first deadline by three business days.
“To ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings, the Bureau today is extending the reply comment deadline by three business days,” the FCC said on Friday, delaying the final deadline for comments to September 15.
Previous owner Avago bought LSI for $6.6bn earlier this year. During 2014, it has been breaking up and divesting divisions of the company to shore up its core semiconductor business. Earlier this year, Avago sold LSI’s solid-state disk (SSD) drive division to Seagate for $450m.
Intel intends to use the Axxia purchase to boost its wireless network offering into an intelligent flexible network based on common standards, according to a blog post from the Intel Intelligent Systems Group.
“In the same way that Intel helped to transform the data center into a business enabler, Intel can help transform networking by providing new technologies and a portfolio of solutions that allow for new innovative services and efficient scaling of a more flexible, cost effective network infrastructure,” said Rose Schooler, GM of the division.
The purchase marks the continuation of Intel’s diversification of its core processor chip business, which continues to be its cash cow with profits of $2.8bn in the second quarter.
Intel’s vision of the future is for an office without wires that will rely on wireless display connectivity, wireless docking and wireless charging.
This is at odds with the announcement yesterday that the USB C standard for superfast wired transfers has been finalised.
Both firms’ boards of directors have approved the deal, which is expected to become final in the fourth quarter.
For more information about mobility, visit the Intel IT Center.
The company reported Thursday that its net profit reached $214 million, while quarterly revenue increased 18 percent year-over-year to $10.4 billion.
Although better known as a PC maker, Lenovo has been making major gains selling mobile handsets in its home market of China. It is now the country’s largest smartphone vendor with a 12.5% share of the market, according to research firm IDC.
The second quarter was the first time Lenovo smartphones outsold its PCs, with 15.8 million units, the company reported on Thursday.
Lenovo’s handsets still aren’t making as much money as PCs. Almost half its revenue came from selling laptops, while its mobile devices division, which includes tablets, accounted for only 15% of its total revenue in the quarter.
The company’s PC business has in the past been helped by its huge presence in its home market of China. But in the second quarter, Lenovo reported that it was also making gains in PC sales to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
In those markets, the company’s revenue reached $2.8 billion, up from $1.9 billion a year ago.
Lenovo, which currently ranks as the number one PC vendor in the world, is trying to expand in servers and mobile devices. Earlier this year, the company announced it would acquire Google’s Motorola Mobility, and IBM’s x86 server business.
Lenovo is still working with regulators to get approval for those deals.
The chip maker said it is partnering with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, established by the actor and Parkinson’s sufferer in 2000, to conduct a multi-phase research study of the neurodegenerative brain disease. An estimated five million people globally have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the second-most-common neurudegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.
The initial goal is to determine the feasibility of using wearable devices to monitor patients remotely and store that data in an open system that can be accessed by scientists.
In the next phase of the study, which will likely kick off in the fall, the foundation will set aside funds to explore how patients are responding to medication. Participants will be monitored via an array of wearable devices.
“As more of these devices hit the market, we can collect objective measurements and determine the efficacy of new therapeutics,” Sohini Chowdhury, a senior vice president for research partnerships at the foundation, told Reuters.
Clinical trials have been far too “subjective” in the past, she said. For instance, a patient might inform her doctor that she felt a tremor for several minutes, when it actually lasted a matter of seconds. In the future, Chowdhury hopes patients and their doctors will have more precise measurements via wearable devices about the “frequency and severity” of symptoms.
Chowdhury said the foundation will continue to raise funding to cover the costs of providing wearable devices to patients.
By using such devices, the foundation and other research groups can tap into a broader pool of patients for clinical trials, Chowdhury said. Today, many people with Parkinson’s disease are unable to participate in clinical trials because they do not live near a research facility.
But wearable devices offer a convenient way to track patients from their work or homes, allowing people in the most rural parts of the country to participate.
As it expands beyond the PC arena, Intel hopes to capture a share of the growing market for big data analytics and wearable devices in the health sector. Ron Kasabian, general manager of Intel’s Big Data Solutions group, said the data center and “Internet of Things” business units are exploring the sector.
“We’re exploring how to pull data out of devices in real-time,” he said. “We can mine data to improve research, and better understand the behaviors and progression of the disease.”
The new cards should start shipping in September. Nvidia has not released any pricing info so far.
Maxwell goes Quadro
The first new card is the Quadro K420, a Kepler-based card with 192 CUDA cores clocked at 780MHz. It features 1GB of DDR3 memory on a 128-bit bus, clocked at 1.8GHz. The card has a TDP of 41W and it churns out 0.3TFLOPs.
The Quadro K620 is a Maxwell design. It has 384 cores clocked at 1GHz, backed by 2GB of DDR3 clocked at 1.8GHz. The TDP stands at just 45W, but the card delivers 0.8TFLOPs, proving once again that Maxwell offers vastly superior efficiency.
The Quadro K2200 is a bit more serious. This mid-range professional solution packs 640 CUDA cores running at up to 1GHz. It uses 5GHz GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit bus and there’s a lot more of it – 4GB to be precise. The TDP is 68W and the card can pump out 1.3TFLOPs (single precision).
Kepler still powers 100W+ Quadro cards
The Quadro K5200 and K4200 are Kepler cards with a beefier 256-bit memory bus. The Quadro K4200 comes equipped with 1344 CUDA cores clocked at 780MHz. It has 4GB of GDDR5 clocked at 5.4GHz effective. The TDP stands at 105W and the card 2.1TFLOPs.
The K5200 packs 2304 CUDA cores and it can deliver 3.1TFLOPs. It has 8GB of GDDR5 clocked 6GHz effective. However, the GPU clock is somewhat lower at 650MHz. Its TDP is 150W.
It looks like an interesting alternative to the mighty Quadro K6000, which is a $5,000 card with 2880 CUDA cores, or a “full GK110″ implementation as some buffs prefer to call it.
Of course, Nvidia is not the only player in this segment. In fact AMD has made great strides in professional graphics and it is going strong. AMD also used Siggraph to announce four professional cards.
Unicode provides a standard for character encoding for all the writing systems in the world, along with technical symbols, punctuation and other text characters.
Because characters among different scripts are often very similar — such as the Latin and Cyrillic scripts’ characters for the lowercase letter “a” — spam and phishing emails often combine them in website links that otherwise look legitimate to the unsuspecting eye.
Scammers set up a site with the URL of a known business — a large bank or retailer — using a mixture of Unicode characters, making the URL look like the one from that business. Then they include a link to that malicious site in spam and phishing emails, hoping people will click on it.
“The Unicode community has identified suspicious combinations of letters that could be misleading, and Gmail will now begin rejecting email with such combinations,” wrote Google official Mark Risher, from the company’s Spam & Abuse Team.
Google will use the Unicode Consortium’s “Highly Restricted” open standard designation because the company believes it strikes a good balance “between legitimate uses of these new domains and those likely to be abused,” Risher wrote.
The Unicode encoding standard provides the basis for “processing, storage and interchange of text data in any language in all modern software and information technology protocols,” according to the Unicode Consortium.
Unicode is aimed at developers who want their software applications to work in any language in the world.
Social and mobile game company King Digital Entertainment Plc lowered its 2014 forecast after reporting lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue on Tuesday, as gamers continued to abandon its “Candy Crush Saga” game.
King also announced a $150 million special dividend, or 46.9 cents per share, payable to shareholders of record on Sept. 30. Its shares, however, slipped 22 percent in after-hours trading after closing at $18.20 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company, which went public in March, said it has reduced its 2014 forecast and expects gross bookings in the range of $2.25 billion to $2.35 billion from its previous estimate of $2.55 billion to $2.65 billion.
“We have seen a step down in monetization in the latter part of Q2 and so we have adapted the view forward,” Chief Executive Officer Riccardo Zacconi said in an interview.
Investors have worried that unless King delivers a set of consistent and long-lasting hits, apart from “Candy Crush Saga,” it might suffer the same fate as “Farmville” maker Zynga Inc and “Angry Birds” developer Rovio Corp, which are struggling to retain players.
King’s second quarter gross bookings, an indicator of future revenue, was $611 million, up 27 percent from the year-ago period, but less than the last quarter when it reported gross bookings of $641.1 million.
King has yet to see its other titles such as “Farm Heroes Saga” and “Bubble Witch 2 Saga” fully offset user losses of its “Candy Crush Saga” puzzler game that accounted for about 60 percent of second-quarter gross bookings.
“We expect ‘Candy Crush’ will decline, but have a very strong tail and a long tail,” Chief Financial Officer Hope Cochran said in an interview. “We will be launching the ‘Candy Crush’ sister title in Q4, which will give more longevity to that title.”